Rival club flags interest in Dons skipper as Collingwood big man hits games trigger

Rival club flags interest in Dons skipper as Collingwood big man hits games trigger

Essendon captain Dyson Heppell could be enticed north to finish his career, while a Collingwood big man has secured a new contract for 2023.

AFL Media’s Cal Twomey joined SEN Breakfast on Thursday morning to provide updates on several players.

One of those was Bombers skipper Heppell, who remains unsigned late in the 2022 season.

The 30-year-old has an offer on the table to stay at The Hangar, but is yet to make up his mind given interest from the Gold Coast Suns.

“We reported several weeks ago that rival clubs were looking at him as a veteran free agent option when he was out of contract at the Bombers,” Twomey said on SEN Breakfast.

“Now, he got a contract offer shortly after that, a one-year extension was put to him, but he hasn’t signed it and Gold Coast has an interest in Heppell as an unrestricted free agent.

“His form has spiked in the last couple of months, I think he’s been playing more on the wing, he was good again against North Melbourne last week, one of Essendon’s best players, so the Suns are having a look at him.

“I think Essendon opened the door to this possibility by taking until so late in the year to offer their skipper an extra year.

“So it will be fascinating to see what Heppell does from here. Take the year at the Bombers or head to Queensland to close out his career.”

Despite looking a step off the pace at times, Heppell has played an important role in 2022 off half-back, averaging 22.7 disposals, 6.8 marks and three rebound 50s a game.

Club legend Tim Watson was asked if he wanted Heppell to stay at Essendon for 2023.

“Under the right circumstances, yes,” he replied.

“He’s a great club man, very popular player, great around the team and I can see why he would attract interest from the Suns for that purpose.”

Meanwhile, Twomey also reported Collingwood ruck/forward Mason Cox will be at the Pies next year.

The 31-year-old found himself out of the team early in the year but has recaptured some of his best form as the season has progressed, playing 12 games.

“He’s locked in now for next year at Collingwood,” Twomey stated on Cox.

“He was almost out of the club this time last year, he signed a one-year deal with a games trigger for 2023 which he’s now hit.

“(There is) obviously a lot happening in the Collingwood ruck space, plenty of interest in Brodie Grundy.

“I think a lot of clubs will be weighing up the Grundy chase… Port Adelaide, GWS, some Melbourne-based clubs too (have some interest).”

That contract means all three of Cox, Darcy Cameron and Brodie Grundy are contracted to Collingwood for next season, as is young ruckman Aiden Begg.

Cox, Cameron and Grundy have only played together once this season, in Round 5.